FTC celebrates after Nvidia-Arm deal collapses

GPU titan retains significant influence over CPU core house given it is a major customer


America's Federal Trade Commission has taken a victory lap of sorts, welcoming Nvidia's termination of its proposed $66bn acquisition of chip design house Arm.

In a Monday statement, the watchdog opined that combining the companies would result in the largest semiconductor chip merger to date – before claiming its demise would "preserve competition for key technologies and safeguard future innovation."

The FTC then gloated a little.

"This result is particularly significant because it represents the first abandonment of a litigated vertical merger in many years," the regulator added, before praising global efforts by fellow competition watchdogs who also probed the proposed, and ultimately doomed, deal.

The agencies listed as providing cooperation included those in the European Union, United Kingdom, Japan and South Korea – suggesting that opposition to the deal was widespread and significant.

Opposition to the Nvidia-Arm deal centered on the possibility that third parties fond of using Arm designs – such as Qualcomm, Microsoft, and Google – could be put at a disadvantage if Nvidia, which itself is a consumer of Arm tech, overhauled the way the Arm ecosystem and licensing is structured.

As a mere licensee and customer of Arm, Nvidia won't be able to directly demand changes that meet its needs. But as our sibling publication, The Next Platform has pointed out, Nvidia is a big customer – so its influence will remain considerable. ®

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